What not own guns?

Here in China, over a meal, they asked, “You live in America. Why don’t you own guns?” The general impression is that every Americans owns guns. Many Washingtonians do. This state has very liberal gun laws. It seems that everyone I knew has an arsenal that will put a small country’s military to shame. Why don’t I own guns?

Economically, it makes little sense. Although guns are not hugely expensive. They are also not impulse buys. A decent hand gun costs several hundred dollars. In addition, you need to amass the ammunition and accessories. The hunting season is short and I don’t enjoy that anyway. So the only recreation is target shooting. Ranges are not that many and shooting in the wilderness is a trouble-some thing to do. Put it simply, you don’t get much use out of those guns you own.

The “self protection” value of guns are a myth. In the event of an intruder, few people have the training to use guns to protect themselves. It takes skills and practices to shoot another person. The consequence of failure, or even success, can be dire. The emotional trauma of killing someone is severe, even in self-defense. The truth is, I may not be that tough to use guns to protect myself.

More than likely, guns are misused during the emotionally heated moments against love ones. Having a gun escalates and amplifies the consequence of strong and negative emotions. Tears and shouting become blood and death, instead of just hurt feelings and broken hearts. Note that guns do not enhance the positivity. They don’t make your birthdays, wedding, or other celebrations more enjoyable.

Lastly, there are accidents: kids playing with the wrong toys; adults not being careful handling them; or just wrong things being together at the wrong time.

When I want to have fun shooting, I go to a gun range, rent a few pieces, buy some boxes or ammo, and shred pieces of paper with bullets. I get this “fix” once in a couple of years.

And that’s just fine with me.

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